Taoiseach must act as Ibrahim Halawa approaches four years in an Egyptian prison – Fanning
Sinn Féin South Dublin County Councillor Enda Fanning has urged Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to act now in sending a strong message of support to Ibrahim Halawa by meeting President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and visiting Ibrahim in prison.
Speaking on the eve of the fourth anniversary of Halawa’s detention, Cllr. Fanning said:
“Tomorrow, a constituent of mine from Firhouse, Ibrahim Halawa, will have spent four years of his young life in a foreign prison for no valid reason. In 2013, Ibrahim was arrested aged only 17, along with his sisters, for engaging in their democratic right to protest peacefully. Despite being arrested at the same time and for the same reason, his sisters were released a few months later but Ibrahim has been detained ever since. It should be noted that Amnesty International has deemed Ibrahim to be an innocent prisoner of conscience.
“For four years now, the Irish government has engaged in a softly, softly approach when dealing with the Egyptian government concerning Ibrahim’s incarceration. I believe, after four years, we can now safely say that their approach has failed dismally. Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny and former Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan constantly reiterated that that was their position and, four years later, they have both moved on while Ibrahim still languishes in a prison cell.
“At this stage, there is no indication that the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has even spoken to President Sisi since coming into office and there is a concern that he and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney will simply continue with the non-interventionist strategy of their predecessors.
“I am now calling on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to send a strong message of support to Ibrahim by seeking an immediate meeting with President Sisi to discuss Ibrahim’s situation and to visit Ibrahim while in Egypt. At the very least, the Taoiseach should now be demanding Ibrahim’s release on bail. It is time, four years on, for the Irish government to show that it has a proactive plan of action when it comes to Ibrahim's release and that it will no longer await the completion of what is an extremely dubious mass trial.”